BEND, Ore.- Cowlitz completed a franchise first Friday night in their West Coast League opener. It was the first time in the nine year history of the club the Black Bears opened a season with a victory on the road.
Cowlitz jumped out to a 5-0 lead early and hung on to beat Bend 5-3.
Mitch Lines (SO Lower Columbia College) shined on the mound pitching five innings of shutout baseball to pick up the win. Lines only gave up two singles while striking out eight Elks. Lines only allowed four base runners overall and faced the minimum thanks to some sharp defense behind him.
Cowlitz (1-0) opened the scoring in the top of the second inning. Dutton Elske (JR University of Portland) hit a one out double and was brought home by an RBI single up the middle by Liam Ballance (SR Vancouver Island University).
Another run came across in the third. With the bases loaded Elkse drew a walk which scored Tyler Parker (JR Clackamas College).
A three run sixth proved to be the difference for the Black Bears. Ballance made it 3-0 scoring on a passed ball. Then Isaac Deveaux (SO University of Utah) hit a bloop single to right field bringing home two runs.
Bend (0-1) made things interesting hitting a two out home run in the bottom of the inning. In the eighth the Elks scored again with two outs on a wild pitch.
But Isaac Mullins (R-JR Washington State) nailed down the first save of the season striking out the tying run to end the ball game.
Joey Morris (R-SO University of Portland) was the first reliever of the game and pitched one inning giving up two runs on four hits with one strikeout. Zack Denney (R-SR Tennessee-Martin) threw the next two innings and gave up one run on one hit with three strikeouts.
The Black Bears once again were clutch with two outs scoring four of their five runs in that situation.
Deveaux had half of Cowlitz's hits with a pair.
Travis Paynter (JR Lower Columbia College) gets the start in game two Saturday at 6:35 PM.